Round 8: Vixens vs GIANTS

Match Day Guide

🦊 Round 8: Vixens vs GIANTS Match Day Guide

Match Report | Mavericks vs Vixens

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1 month ago

The Melbourne Vixens have claimed bragging rights with a seven-goal win over newcomers the Melbourne Mavericks in the inaugural derby at John Cain Arena on Wurundjeri Country on Sunday.

With three debutants taking the court - Rudi Ellis, Sophie Garbin and Zara Walters all playing the full 60 minutes - the new-look Vixens stepped up in a scrappy contest to register a 61-68 victory, despite injuries keeping Jo Weston and Hannah Mundy out of the game day team.

A superhuman effort from captain Kate Moloney, a dominant four-quarter performance from Garbin, and full-court defensive pressure led by vice captain Emily Mannix and the experienced Kate Eddy headlined the impressive result.

Q1 | Mavs 13–15 Vixens

Nerves were evident in the first term as both sides worked to settle in their new lineups; there was feeling in it from the first whistle and neither team gave an inch. Garbin (42 from 46, 91%) was dominant under the post from the outset, matching former Vixen Liv Lewis’ hops with her own elevation and timing. It was goal-for-goal early until the Mavs pushed out by a couple, but two late super shots from Garbin gave Vixens a narrow lead at the first break.

Colac-born debutant Walters didn’t look out of place despite her relative inexperience, delivering a game-high 40 feeds and 26 goal assists. Her work rate was reminiscent of her captain Moloney, who offered her trademark control on transition, and Walters’ connection with Garbin seemed to build by the minute.

Q2 | Mavs 29–36 Vixens

The Vixens came out firing in the second, lifting their defensive pressure all over the court. Kiera Austin was menacing (3 gains, 3 deflections), matching Eddy’s unassuming approach to collect tips and deflections as the Mavs worked to transition through the midcourt. Mavs put on a physical defence in the circle, Austin wearing the contacts and using her quick footwork to continue her cuts and drives around circle edge.

Mannix (5 gains, 4 deflections) played a relentless tagging role in goal defence, showing off her endurance to wear the Mavs’ goalers down. In a new combination with Rudi Ellis, Mannix was key in driving the Vixens’ hands over pressure to force multiple turnovers, Ellis’ wingspan and anticipation delivering a game-high six deflections.

Q3 | Mavs 46–53 Vixens

The third term was even at 17 goals apiece, a couple of missed connections in attack meaning the Vixens didn’t capitalise on every gained ball. Walters’ work rate in both attack and defence was outstanding as she stepped up to meet every contest, unafraid of the physical challenge being thrown at her, and her strong, clean drives saw her lead the stats for second phase receives with 16 and deliver 13 feeds for the term.

The Mavs ate into the margin with some super shots from Eleanor Cardwell and Rolene Streutker, but Austin sank a couple of her own to restore the margin heading into the final break.

Q4 | Mavs 61–68 Vixens

The sides couldn’t be separated for the second straight quarter, the Vixens steadying and applying pressure over the shot to ensure the Mavs’ super shot attempts didn’t bring them back into the contest.

Moloney hit the deck early with a rolled ankle but nothing could stop the skipper running out the game with her usual composure and grit, a picture of consistency with Nissan Net Points scores of 29.5, 30, 25.5 and 30 across four quarters. Garbin stood strong in the circle, shooting 12 goals in the final term to ensure the Vixens closed out the match in front by seven.


  • 22: The Vixens registered 22 penalties in the first quarter, but adjusted impressively to rack up just 12 in the second quarter. Staying in play gave Eddy, Mannix and Ellis more opportunities to contest and they capitalised.

  • 115: Moloney led the match for Nissan Net Points with 115, delivering six pickups, 26 feeds and just one general play turnover.

  • 10: Fans were treated to a show with Em Mannix running out four quarters in goal defence - known as one of the strongest endurance runners in the team, she estimates she got at least 10km in the legs in this match (jury’s still out on the GPS data).


Head coach Simone McKinnis was pleased with her side’s performance.

“It was always going to be a tough one for us, round one, it was always going to be super hard-fought and competitive… To see new players like Rudi and Sophie out there for us, and Zara in her first ever game, I’m super pleased… Em [Mannix] I thought was outstanding today, her work rate at goal defence and her leadership driving through that middle.”


The Vixens face the reigning champions, Adelaide Thunderbirds, in their first home match of the season at John Cain Arena on Saturday 20 April. Tickets are available now via Ticketek.

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